Uke In A Flash:
One card, 24 chords! Uke In A Flash™ will train you to anticipate the chords you will need to play any song. With regular use it will lessen your dependance on sheet music by providing all the chord charts you will need for songs in any key you will find in ukulele song books, plus several more.
Uke In A Flash™ follows the formula that most modern songs were written from: The first, fourth, and fifth major chords in a given key, their relative minors, a trio of secondary major chords you may encounter, and three common substitutes songwriters may use to give the song a different flavor…plus the dominant seventh versions of each of the above chords.
In most cases you will be able to play a song using only the top row.
The only real learning curve some encounter in using Uke In A Flash™ is getting accustomed to looking at only dots or orange 7’s. Some of the dots and 7’s occupy the same spot on the fretboard. That’s irrelevant. Just play one or the other, dots or 7s, and you’ll be fine. Play one, ignore the other. For example: Select the Key of C card and look at the Bb chord chart directly below the C chord. Play the four dots to play Bb, play the four 7s to play Bb7.
How Uke In A Flash Cards work: Each card has 24 chords: 12 made with black dots and 12 made with orange 7’s. Again, select the “Key of C” card and look at the C chord chart, (the top left chart). The black dot on the third fret of the first string indicates the finger position for a C major chord, the orange 7 on the first fret indicates the finger position for a C7 chord. The letter at the top indicates the root note of the chord.
How the chords on the cards are arranged: Most of the songs you will ever encounter when playing the ukulele will use the chords in the top row of a Key Card, because most songs have the same foundational pattern: They are built upon the 1st, 4th, and 5th chords in a given key.
The first three chords on the top row are these 1-4-5 chords. The key itself is chord #1. In the Key of C, the 1-4-5 chords are C-F-G. Since there are no sharps or flats in the Key of C, it’s just a matter of counting 12345 alphabetically, with C being #1: CDEFG. Since sharps and flats complicate things in other keys, Uke In A Flash does the counting for you, always giving you the 1-4-5 chords as the first three chord charts on a card.
The next three chords on the top row are the relative minor chords. These are the minor chords that are related to the 1-4-5 chords in a “music theory” kind of way. You don’t need to know more than that. All you need to know is that, in all likelihood, you will only need to use the top row of chords.
The bottom row contains chords that songwriters sometimes use to add their own flavor to their songs. You will run across them now and then as you tackle more complicated songs.
Bonus learning tool: There is a “necknotes” chart under the big orange “Key Of” box. Pick out any note on the necknotes chart, play it and say it out loud. Repeat this daily with one note per week. You will memorize where notes are on the neck and will be glad you did!
IMPORTANT: The 5 chord as a 7th:
This holds true for about 90% of all 1-4-5 songs: The 5 chord is typically played as a 7th. That is, in the Key of C, with the 1-4-5 chords being C-F-G, the #5 chord, in this case G, will be played as a G7. Got that? Remember it!
How to proceed and train your brain: We’ll use two songs from the list of songs at the website www.doctoruke.com for the next bit. Go to their list and scroll down to find All My Loving and Second Hand Rose. Note that there are two versions of each song, one with chord charts and one without. Use the version without chord charts.
How to determine which key card to use (98.6% of the time):
Step 1: What is the first chord? If it is a major chord, (C, G, etc.), get the Key Card that matches and go to step 3.
Step 2: If the first chord isn’t a major chord, is it a minor? If so, find the Key Card on which the 4th chord chart in the first row matches the sheet’s first chord.
Step 3: Look for a 7th chord, like G7 or C7. Does it match the 3rd chart’s letter on the Key Card from 1 or 2? If yes, you’ve got your Card!
Example: For All My Loving, the first chord is Dm. Step 2 has us match that to the 4th chart which matches the C Card. The next chord is G7. Step 3 has us match G7 to the 3rd chart on the Card. This song is in C.
Next, let’s use a more complicated song. Look at Second Hand Rose. Yikes! The first chord is D, a major chord, so get the Key of D Card. Next we have an A7, so we match that to the 3rd chart. Is it an A? YES! Remember the 3rd chart in the top line of the card is the “5” chord in the 1-4-5 pattern and it is typically played as a 7th chord so A7 is perfect! So far it’s simple, but what are all those other chords coming up?
Let’s take them one at a time. D A7 D A7 D Fdim! Well, Uke In A Flash™ has a DIM CHORDS Card too! DIMs in ukulele music are technically “Diminished 7th Chords” but we’re calling them DIMs as that’s what you’ll see the most in song sheets. They are used as “passing chords” or “color chords,” often for only one strum. Early on, you can skip them, just repeat the chord that preceeds them. But once you’re ready, note that there are only three positions that repeat for each of the 12 keys.
Back to Second Hand Rose. Play the Fdim (or D again). Next Em7: Is it on the Card? Yup, 4th chart top row. E7? Yes, 4th chart bottom row.
B7? NO!!! What do you do NOW? It does happen… but not often. Luckily you have a “Key of B” card. Find the B, (1st chord), look at the 7s, ignore the dots. Bet you remember it the next time you play the song!
Use Uke In A Flash™ as follows: Open a songbook to any song. Figure out the key using the techniques above. Put the appropriate Uke In A Flash™ key card next to your song sheet. Play the song and at each chord change find the chord on the Uke In A Flash™ card. Listen to the chord change. After a couple of times, try to play the song without the song sheet. Once you can do that, find another song that you know that’s in the same key. Try to play it using only the key card. Repeat often.
If you have any other questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks for buying Uke In A Flash!